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2011: Can a Rate of Return be Attributed to Assets for Purposes of Calculating Guideline Child Support in San Diego Superior Court for a Divorce, Legal Separation or Paternity?

In any child support case, whether a paternity, legal separation or divorce, the San Diego Superior Court Judge will calculate California Guideline child support upon noticed motion. Child support can be ordered in a legal separation, divorce of paternity case where there are minor children. A minor child [with the exception of a special needs child] means graduating high school and being 18 years or age or 19 years of age if in school full time unless emancipated. The guideline child support calculations include many factors which are listed below however one of the most important is income of the parties.

Income includes, but is not limited to, social security benefits, disability insurance benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, workers compensation benefits, annuities, trust income, interest, pensions, dividends, rents, bonuses, wages, royalties, salaries and commissions.

The factors used in the guideline child support calculations include [but are not limited to] the following as listed below:

  • number of children of the parties
  • percentage of time with the non custodial parent
  • filing status of the parties
  • number of federal exemptions
  • wages and salary
  • self employment income
  • other taxable income
  • TANF plus any child support received
  • other non taxable income
  • new spouse income
  • spousal support paid to another marriage
  • required union dues
  • necessary job related expenses
  • health insurance
  • interest paid for primary residence
  • property tax paid for primary residence
  • mandatory retirement
  • hardship deductions

One issue is income. If there is money in a savings account which has an interest rate of $0, the Judge can use an interest rate which is calculated by either short term or intermediate term Treasury bills or medium ranged time certificate of deposits. These certificate of deposits are normally from major financial institutions such as Citi Bank, Bank of America, Chase or others. The concept is that an earning capacity cannot be reduced if there is no risk of loss. In many cases, however, an expert opinion may be needed as to the reasonable rate of return such as a fair market rental value of an unoccupied residence. Unrealized capital appreciation of a primary residence is not used for attributing a rate of return under California law.

This is more complicated than it would seem. There is a state guideline calculator “on line” and you can use this to calculate your child support for your case. If you would prefer, we would be pleased to offer you a confidential consultation and calculate your child support using the Disso Master program which is approved as a California State Guideline program.

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